1930’s Glamour Hollywood Style

Glamour 1930's style

If I had to choose a particular era it would have to be 1930’s. Maybe it is all the wonderful Poirot TV series I have enjoyed over the years where I have learned to love the simplicity of the Art Deco style combined with the beauty of bias cut fashions. Dresses flowed – Vionnet had brought bias cutting into the hands of dressmakers and it lets cloth flow around the body like nothing ever seen before or since.

1930's Hollywood inspired patterns

Women wanted to wear the fashions they saw in the hollywood movies and pattern makers  used hollywood actresses on their patterns. Just look at the fabulous detail of the bodice, with the beautiful corner detail on the back. The bias cut skirt would have followed every contour, so you might have to be rather slim to carry this off.

1930's velvet gown

This beautiful velvet gown shows the enduring feature of 1930’s style, the diamond waist piece. This might not be cut on the bias, the grain line would have most likely run vertically from the top point to the bottom and would have given structure that allows the bias cut pieces of the bodice some element of stability.

1930's dress pattern

In this pattern illustration highlights just how the fabric clings and follows the contours of the body. The side panels at the hips are the diamond shapes that would be running in the opposite direction to the skirt pieces. The bodice looks as if it is cut on the straight of grain, whereas the feminine sleeve would have been semi circular in shape to give those softly floating ripples.

Bathing costumes 1930's

The bathing suits were far kinder to the body than the two piece costumes of today. This style would enhance any woman’s figure, the use of stripes creates an illusion of drawing the figure in – a slimming effect.

pjs 1930s

Imagine how glamours you would feel wearing these pjs around the house? Usually in satin or silk, the fabric would brush softly against your skin. Definitely one up on the Onesie for style.

tea dresses 1930s

Imagine living in a world where you dressed up for tea – these beautiful tea dresses have clean lines but the pattern allows extra fabric in the panels gathered together so as not to interrupt the style, but would have allowed the dress fabric to flow as the woman walked. Notice the top of the sleeves are fairly well fitting, it is not until the 1940’s or late 30’s we see a gathered cap.

1930's style

The beautiful details in this dress are simply delightful – there is so much going on here and yet the lines are simple and would enhance the wearer. I would suggest this is a late 1930’s early 1940’s because of the gathering at the sleeve cap. However the front panel with the pleating is an aspect of the 1930’s. Notice how the smocking has given a lot more ease in the bust area, while the centre panel accentuates the waist.

Simplistic style of 1930's

We are back again to flat sleeve, and the length of this skirt suggests its 1930’s. I like the sailor style collar with the feminine bow. The top is nipped in and enhances the waistline and I adore the button details on the hip.

day dress

I could not help adding this beautiful dress – the way the buttoning flows from one side to the other really does delight my eye.

Bias cutting is not for the faint hearted, it is challenging. Looking at the styles and patterns from the past, I think women must have had superior sewing skills because none of the patterns you buy today have that degree of complexity. However, I am inspired to try.

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Up-cycled Jumper to cardigan


jumper upcyle before

This lovely Angora Jumper was needing a little brightening up.

cutting the front

To make this into a cardigan I cut along the midpoint between the rows of stitching.

crocheting the edges

It is important to finish the edges before it began to fray.

A double crochet edge gives a stronger border for

covered buttons on cardigan

Its very easy to cover buttons, just make a circle of fabric bigger than the button

Use running stitch around the edge and then pull together so that the fabric gathers around the back.

Stitch in place.

faux button and popper closures

I use snap fasteners, to close the cardigan it makes it easy to fasten.

Upcycled jumper flowers 3

The stitched corsage is made from more covered buttons

I covered a button using crochet and placed in the middle of a suffolk puff

Upcycled jumper flower buttons

I crocheted a pretty frilled edge round one of the buttons

The rose was a felted button and the leaves were from a wool blanket I felted and dyed.

flower details 6

I hope my daughter enjoys her new vintage style cardigan.

Love Sewing Magazine Ruby Dress Pattern Review

 

 

 


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 This ‘Sew Simple’ pattern came with Love Sewing Magazine – called the Ruby Dress

I thought it looked lovely – it is reminiscent of the 1950’s – a very flattering style, good for pear shapes or hourglass because the full skirt covers hips and thighs and focusses attention onto a small waistline which are the assets of a pear and hourglass shape.

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There were a couple of adaptations I wanted to make to the pattern:

 

Replace the centre Zip in the back to a concealed zip in the side seam.

11-Ruby Dress Simple Sew Pattern from Love Sewing Magazine-006I traced off the back pattern piece, using cross and dot paper.

I removed the seam allowance in the centre; because I have narrow shoulders pinched out a dart so that it narrowed the back slightly towards the top.

I drafted a mirror image to create one pattern piece that would not have to be cut on the fold. When you cut on the fold it is easy for the fabric to slip slightly out of grain – this can affect the fit and drape of the dress.

Increase bust allowance for a fuller bust

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I am a 34 G bust – so I had to adapt the pattern to allow an extra 2inches at the bust line but 34 is very narrow, so I needed to bring the pattern in at the back and shoulders.

Once again I traced off the front bodice and hit a problem – the bust point was not indicated on the pattern. So I had to find my own bust point – you do this by laying the pattern piece across your body, mark the peak of the bust as a big dot. Then cut out the side dart and move it down so it is pointing at the dot. (I had to move the dart down about 2 inches)

I made a quick toile and found that I could just increase the side seam by 1inch, and move the bottom seam by an 1inch – it would give me that extra room.

10-Ruby Dress Simple Sew Pattern from Love Sewing Magazine-005I also checked the measurement across the back – being narrow shouldered I needed to take another 1/2 inch out of the v at the back. I also skimmed an inch from the shoulder seam so it would finish at my shoulder.

Because of my large bust, I had to pinch out about a 1/2 inch dart at the neckline. I also altered the neckline so that it would sit just on my collarbone using a french curve to round it off.

Even though I am inserting a side zip, I did not need to add any further seam allowances as there would be sufficient room to insert the zip along the side seam.

I drafted new pattern pieces with these changes – these could be used to make more dresses without the need to go over the fitting again.

Lengthen the skirt length

I added approximately 3 inches to the bottom of the skirt, so that it would sit just below the knee instead of just above.

I added a cap sleeve – in keeping with the fifties style.

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My Fabric choice

I had two lovely pieces of curtain fabric to work with from a local curtain shop. The spring linen was a remnant of 3 metres for £5. The silky satin lining was a pale green 5 metres £7 which was an absolute bargain.

I wanted to line this dress and the weight of the satin would help the garment flow easily as well as protecting me from the sharpness of the zip. In essence it means you make two dresses, but it feels luxurious to wear.

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I believe the finishing of a dress makes a huge difference between the high street – it is what makes dressmaking so wonderful. Most clothing is so cheap that the design details are the way they reduce costs. I aim to sew garments that I could never afford to buy, not just for the customised fit but the small details you get with high end, great pattern matching, bra clips, lining attachments – details you will find in couture houses.

I made the lining dress first so that I was able to check the measurements again – before I worked on my outer fabric.

 

 

The challenging areas on this pattern are the neckline and the deep v at the back.

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In order to give more stability – after stitching the lining and bodice pieces together I ran some hemming web between the two layers and ironed in place. This created a beautiful crisp finish to the edge and also stabilised the v at the back.


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Its a great idea to attach the lining to the zip flap – I used my normal zip foot as it allows you to sew close to the zip edge.

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I loved the pattern of this pretty spring fabric, but the darts at the front of the dress made it look a bit odd, so I appliquéd a couple of flowers over the seam so that it looked better.

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I increased the skirt a little to add fullness and my ruffler foot made the regular pleats a doddle.

On reflection, I think I might make the next one more of a circle skirt without pleating.

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This pattern was very easy to work with – although I did not follow the making up instructions as I was confident enough to make it myself. However, if you are new to sewing it might be worth either keeping the magazine with the pattern or just the pages where they give you instructions on how to make up, then the two won’t get lost!

I use the resealable freezer bags to store my patterns, its easy to see what they look like but there is also room for my adapted patterns too. (I can never get the pattern back into the envelope).



 

Vintage Basket Revamp – with Strawberry Drawstrings

I adore charity shops, not only do they suit my budget, but I find they are teeming with things that inspire me.

Take this little lovely basket, I admit now that I have a wicker fetish I simply love them and have many baskets in all shapes and forms. I think it is the tactile nature of them, similar to wood it has a living appeal.

I think this basket harps back to either fifties or forties, the colours seem to be right and someone has taken good care of it so I wanted to re-vamp it in tune with its nature.

I made an inner bag using vintage style Kath Kidstonesque fabric from Fabricland. I love the combination of reds and greens, who says they should never be seen eh?

It makes the basket a little more useful as I can keep my purse in it and not have it on show while I am shopping.

I made the little bow on the side to match my stripy fifties dress I was wearing to Goodwood revival.

This bag has been admired where ever I go, especially the pretty little drawstring strawberries.

I could not resist adding the bobble ribbon round the rim, and the strawberries were fun to do which was a good job because the day I finished it someone’s dog chewed one off! They are hand stitched and it always surprises me how relaxing hand sewing can be. I used some red suiting I had left over and some green felt that I had made from an old blanket. I also filled the strawberries with some rice to give them a little weight. The buttons are from a new range Tilda has brought out they are designed for scrapbooking, but they were perfect for this because they are so tiny!

As with all things the project grew a little, I glue gunned the edge of the liner to the basket to fix it in place otherwise it would constantly sag. I also added lovely velvet ribbon round the handles as I found the handles cut in when the basket was full.

I love it, especially shopping with it it is so pretty.

If you would like to make some strawberries of your own, leave your email address in the comments box and I will send it to you.

Queen of Hearts Vintage Apron

I love all things domestic, I also enjoy wearing clothes that feel good. I was inspired by the fabric when I was sent on a course to London. Near our HQ is a wonderful fabric shop and there was a whole range of lovely heart fabrics in all different sizes. I could imagine it would be the best thing for a fifties inspired apron and bought enough for a project. I don’t go that often and I have always regretted the times I have seen something and not bought it! (That is my excuse and I am sticking to it!)

I admit it is hearty! I researched several vintage designs of aprons and there were many fifties aprons that had heart shaped bib sections.

The problem is that sometimes the bib sections don’t keep their shape so I re-enforced this with some interfacing, in addition I also re-enforced the front of the tie section so it keeps its width and does not fold over as some tend to do.

I wanted some form rosette on the apron and found this lovely pin from the British heart foundation, very apt in our year of the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics!
I love suffolk puffs, (now called yo yo’s thanks to our American cousins) I remember making a child’s toy at school it was a long caterpillar made from these puffs. My mother would not buy new material for it, so I had to cut up an old dress. I don’t think it was finished because it was a very lengthy process, but I am so pleased to see things re-invented and renewed.

I made the tie nice and big, to create a lovely bow on my bottom! It adds to the appeal of femininity, which is what the fifties era personifies.

It is a period where women were able to wear very feminine clothes, together with new materials becoming available so much happened to change the lives of the Brits from the deprivation of war to the optimistic 60’s. I am going on a fashion lecture about this era as it is a particular interest of mine.

The skirt section is a half circle and it feels lovely as it sways around, it reminds me of a gypsy skirt I had in my dressing up box as a child. I think we should all dress up still!

It is one of those things that I can simply slip on and indulge in a little baking imagining I am Doris Day! it makes me feel wonderful, just like a little girl again! Now that can’t be bad can it?

Vintage Napkin Recycling – Needle Case

I simply struggle to resist the little napkins and tablecloths that are on the shelves of charity shops for pennies. They are the refugees of an era where families all sat round the dinner table and ate with napkins and linen table cloths. I am so pleased that the crisp white linen table cloths had long gone as my children could never keep their spaghetti on a plate! How they managed to keep the linen in such white pristine condition with no washing machines shows they had skills way beyond my abilities even with my eco bubble samsung!
I love to find new lives for these poor refugees, and this one is a little needle case. You can gauge how small it is by the size of the stitches. I cut round the appliqué leaving a seam allowance and then used a modern vintage styled fabric that was in keeping, fabricland has lots of different varieties at the moment, all thanks to Kath Kidston. I backed it with the extra stiff iron on interfacing you use to make curtain pelmets it gives the needle book a good solid shape. The button was from my stash, and like everything I remember buying it at one of those craft outlets in Dorset, a small sideline for a potter and so lovely.

Little Vintage Tea Cup Sewing kit

I have a passion for vintage tea cups and when I spotted this one at a local  craft fair I could not resist. This is not just a tea cup: lift the pincushion lid and you will discover a little sewing kit.
The needle case is a needle felted jammy dodger; there is also a reel of cotton and a tiny pair of scissors!
I leave the needles treaded: one with white cotton and one with black ready for the little emergency sewing – the time you want to go out in your favourite dress and the hem has come down, or a button pops off at the last minute, this little sewing kit is ready and waiting.
The little needle felted jammy dodger is easy and fun to do, the tutorial will be on here soon if you fancy making your own.